3 Background:December 1999, started imaging with a Celestron Nexstar 5 and aNikon CoolPix 800 using eyepiece projection.March 2000, bought a Celestron C14 with a CI700 mount and added aAstrometrics SkyWalker 2 GoTo system to the mount.July 2000, started building my observatory in the back yard, and wentoperational in November.Added various scopes and cameras over the next few years, but the locallight pollution grew by leaps and bounds and I had to start looking for abetter dark site.
4 Background:October 2004, I attended the first AIC (Advanced Imaging Conference),and there I met Steve Mandel, the conference founder, and an amateurastronomer working on researching dust clouds.I started helping Steve gather the images for that project by running theequipment located at New Mexico Skies, and two years later, I bought theequipment from him and still do research with Professor Adolf Witt at theUniversity of Toledo.Steve and I partnered in 2007 and put equipment in one of theobservatories at Sierra Remote Observatories about 45 miles outside ofFresno, Ca in the Sierra Nevada mountains.
5 Background:1 year later, Steve changed directions and I bought out his half of theequipment at SRO.I later added a second scope and mount to the SRO observatory and thatbrought the total to 5 systems that are usually running every night that isclear at each location.
6 Locations & Equipment: Twinoaks Observatory - Rock Hill, SC.My first observatory, located in my back yard.Definition – Remote Local : Easily accessible by you during an imagingsession to handle any situation that may arise.
15 Locations: Blue Sky Observatory (Near Shaver Lake, Ca.) Sierra Remote Observatories - Obs 5.Definition – Remote Unmanned: Accessible by remote personnel basedon the seriousness of the emergency. May take some timefor them to arrive on site.
22 Remote Imaging Challenges: Power FailureUPS - sized large enough to close your roof, clam, or slotand run your communications , computer(s) , andequipment for an orderly shutdown.APC Smart 3000, APC Smart 2200GeneratorKohler 12RES (12KW Natural Gas)
23 Remote Imaging Challenges: Weather FailureMust be able to detect changing conditions that would warrant aneed to end or pause your imaging session.Clouds (Sky Temperature)High windsHigh HumidityLoss of feed from weather detectorBoltwood II Cloud Sensor
27 Remote Imaging Challenges: Equipment FailureMust be able to recover from a software failure and/or a hardwarefailure.Remotely re-boot your computer system(s)Power cycle mount, cameras, hubs, etcNeed notifications if/when these failures occurRoof override systemRemote EyesInternet WebcamToshiba IK-WB01A_11A
34 Software, Hardware, and Tools : TheSky6 ProScripting interfaceCan control a large number of mountsCan setup FOVI for a large number of camera/scope combosComes with multiple star catalogs and object databasesSupports Image linking for accurate telescope positioningSupports multiple locationsInterfaces with TPoint for improved telescope pointing
35 Software, Hardware, and Tools : CCDSoft / Maxim DLScripting interfaceCan control a large number of camerasHas the ability to take multiple imagesSupports a number of Filter WheelsDrives the guiding camera for long exposuresSupports Image linking with TheSky6 (CCDSoft) or with PinPoint(Maxim DL)Interfaces with TPoint for automated map building
36 Software, Hardware, and Tools : Automated Focusing - FocusMaxSupports a wide range of motorized FocusersBuilds a profile of your imaging train and uses that to obtainexcellent focus (V Curve)Has a scripting interfaceIs compatible with CCDSoft and Maxim DL
37 Software, Hardware, and Tools : Remote AutomationCCDAutoPilot4CCD CommanderACPWrite your own
38 Software, Hardware, and Tools : Remote ControlUltraVNCRadminRemote DesktopPC Anywhere
39 Software, Hardware, and Tools : Remote Power ControlBaytechRPC3DE-15Web Power SwitchWeb Power Switch II
40 Software, Hardware, and Tools : UPSAPCAPC Smart-UPS 3000VA USB & Serial 120V
41 Software, Hardware, and Tools : Remote Control RelaysWeb RelaysWebRelay & WebRelay DualWeb CamToshibaIK-WB15A
43 Software, Hardware, and Tools : CCD Navigator 2AutoMapper IIFilezilla – FTP Server
44 Remote Setups and Protection Review: Adequate Power and good backup PowerRemote Power control for all devicesGood/Fast network connectionGood reliable roof controller w/overridesWeather monitor – i.e.: Boltwood II or equivalent